Rita Ora is fed up with Jay Z’s Roc Nation. She’s accusing the hip-hop mogul’s record label of putting off her album when the company changed its direction.
Rita Ora first signed onto the record label back in 2008, but has only released one album since then. The 25-year-old “Poison” singer claims that once the company changed its direction, they completely forgot about her and her music. The singer once called the rapper “an incredible partner at the label” until Roc Nation launched its first sports agency, and then launched the Tidal streaming service. Ora filed the lawsuit against the record label in Los Angeles on Thursday, December 17, claiming that her contract is unenforceable and violates California law, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“When Rita signed, Roc Nation and its senior executives were very involved with her as an artist. As Roc Nation’s interests diversified, there were fewer resources available and the company suffered a revolving door of executives. Rita’s remaining supporters at the label left or moved on to other activities, to the point where she no longer had a relationship with anyone at the company.”
The documents call Roc Nation a “diminished” label with “only a handful of admittedly worthy heritage superstar artists.” Rita is attempting to break her contact with the label, so she’s citing Labor Code §2855, called the “seven-year rule,” a section of the state labor’s code that says a court cannot enforce a contract after seven calendar years from when the contract began. The code was famously used by actress Olivia de Havilland back in 1944 when she filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros., claiming that the movie studio unfairly extended her contract, according to the THR report. The studio argued that the “seven-year rule” only applied to the time the performer actually worked, and not time in between. But the California Court of Appeal ruled in de Haviland’s favor, ridding of the old studio system.
But musicians haven’t always been lucky with the “seven-year rule” in their contracts. After Olivia Newton-John sued MCA Records for violating the state law, the label lobbied the California legislature to establish rules allowing labels to sue artists for “lost profits” or not fulfilling album commitments or other parts of their contract.
Ora’s contract with Roc Nation includes the option to record up to five studio albums, a “pay or play” provision, and other limitations. While she claims she was only allowed to release one studio album, 2008’s Ora, she has recorded enough music for a second or third album. Even Ora’s relationship with DJ Calvin Harris has prevented her from releasing new music. Back in 2014, she first revealed to Ryan Seacrest that she was forced to delay her album and banned from performing their joint collaboration “I Will Never Let You Down” at the 2014 Teen Choice Awards.
“It was more of a thing where I was in awe. I was at that point in my relationship where I felt he could do no wrong. I thought he had my back and that he’d never steer me wrong. But then ‘I Will Never Let You Down’ came out, and everything started to go a bit weird. I don’t know if it was because business was mixed with personal or what.”
Rita Ora has remained in the spotlight despite her tarnished relationship with the record label. In June, she joined The X Factor U.K. as a judge, and has starred in the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie. And back in October, 2014, she released the hit duet “Black Widow” with Iggy Azalea.
[Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images]